Implementing Custom Data-Bound Controls in .NET framework

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8 Implementing Custom Data-Bound Controls
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THE NET FRAMEWORK provides a rich set of Windows Forms controls for presenting data in your applications The controls in the Framework are by necessity and design very general purpose and flexible, and with the addition of the DataGridView in NET 20, they can be used to address most common requirements However, there are certain advanced scenarios where the Framework controls might not meet your needs, as well as other times when developing custom controls can make sense as well You might choose to implement your own custom data-bound controls for a number of reasons, including:
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You need similar special-purpose functionality in more than one place in your application or across multiple applications You can contain the complexity of the special-purpose code, even if you don't see a strong potential for reuse Encapsulation is a good thing, both for providing the potential for reuse and for isolating portions of your code so that only those who need to know and work with the internal details of an implementation have to deal with that portion of the code You want to create a custom control that encapsulates the code required to bend the Framework controls to your will You can code and debug your custom functionality and code as a custom control once, and then reuse it in many places in the same way that you use the controls provided by the Framework You need to provide functionality or a presentation rendering of data that is not already available through the Framework controls
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The code required to implement custom data-bound controls depends on how customized the control is This chapter covers several examples of custom controls that demonstrate different approaches to custom controls and discusses the considerations for each approach It describes how to subclass existing Framework controls, how to use containment to use existing custom controls while gaining an additional level of flexibility and ease of development from the subclassing case, and how to develop a custom data-bound control that doesn't use any of the built-in data-bound controls or components You don't need to write much data-binding-related code yourself for subclassed controls and control containment, but if you step into the deep end and create a totally custom data-bound control, you will have to consume the data-binding interfaces described in 7 I'll be demonstrating how to do that in the latter half of this chapter
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Extending Framework Data-Bound Controls
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Depending on the kind of custom data-bound functionality you need to support, inheriting from one of the existing controls in the NET Framework might be your best option Specifically, if you want to tailor the presentation of the data in a control, many of the Windows Forms Framework controls expose rich event models and virtual methods in the base class that let you integrate your own code to customize the appearance and/or behavior of the control as it is presented to the user or while they interact with it The data-binding behaviors of the Windows Forms controls are pretty tightly woven into the controls; they aren't exposed in a way that lets you easily override that data-binding behavior by inheriting from the control If you need to vary the data that gets presented by a Windows Forms control, you are better off doing that by changing the data source that you bind to the control, rather than trying to make the control change what data in the bound data source it presents For example, if you wanted to only show selected items in a collection of data within a data-bound control, you could just bind that control to a binding source and use the Filter property on a binding source to modify which data items are presented by the control Alternatively, you could requery for new data based on the user's interactions However, if you want to customize the appearance of the data within a control, most of the data-bound Windows Forms controls let you take over some or all of the painting or rendering logic of the control and do the data rendering yourself For text boxes, combo boxes, and the DataGridView, there are ways to handle the painting events that are raised by the Framework, and in your handler you can take over the painting of data yourself You also have opportunities to customize the formatting of the data as it is rendered by the control (See the discussion in 4 of the Format and Parse events of the Binding object, and the description in 6 of theDataGridView control's CellFormatting event, and how to use those to modify the data presented within the control to be something different than what it is in the underlying data source) Most of these capabilities can be done on a case-by-case basis inside the forms where you use the controls But many times it will make sense to encapsulate that logic, either to separate it from the other code in your form or to package it for reuse Deriving a class from one of the Windows Forms control classes is one way to accomplish this encapsulation in an easily reusable way
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